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Car Ads and Brochures:
Car and Driver, March 1984

April 24, 2013 by Matt

March 1984 Car and Driver

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I recently bought this issue on eBay. It has a fantastic review of the then-new Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE, an uprated variant of the first-generation car powered by larger 13B rotary engine. Between that and a road test of the contemporary Audi 4000 quattro (which I have owned and loved), I decided it was time to be able to turn the pages of the issue for myself.

Reading it was a delight. The road tests seemed to be far more detailed then than now, with fewer pictures and more involved descriptions of the driving experience. And then there were the advertisements, nearly worth the price of admission alone. I’ve scanned a few notable ones.

At top is great spread beautifully detailing Audi’s new quattro AWD system, and below is an ad for the Mercury Cougar, a car whose looks have not aged quite as gracefully as its (now defunct) manufacturer might have hoped:

March 1984 Car and Driver

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Mazda purchased the centerfold spread of the magazine to bring the buying public up to speed on the intricacies of its newest flavor of RX-7:

March 1984 Car and Driver

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Chevrolet’s ad is a bit of a head-scratcher, juxtaposing jaunty Southwestern enthusiasm with words like “synonymous,” “vernacular” and “refined:”

March 1984 Car and Driver

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The angle of the photograph in Ford’s spot for the Mustang SVO cleverly disguises the fact that the aero headlights intended for the car were not okayed by the feds until the middle of the following model year:

March 1984 Car and Driver

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Only a couple of pages apart, contrast Alfa Romeo’s wholehearted embrace of the emotional sell…

March 1984 Car and Driver

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…with BMW’s resolutely serious approach to advertising their 533i:

March 1984 Car and Driver

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Finally, we have a couple of non-car ads; first, one for Kenwood’s cutting-edge tape deck audio system with “wings” that swing out:

March 1984 Car and Driver

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And one featuring Recaro seats, examples of which many enthusiasts would pay dearly for nowadays:

March 1984 Car and Driver

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My automotive history sweet spot exists somewhere around the mid-’80s, so having the issue on hand to peruse was a real treat.

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series chronicling interesting automotive advertisements and brochures. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: Car Ads and Brochures, Media

4 Comments

  1. Nick Nguyen says:

    My local library has all the C&D, MT and R&T issues archived since the beginning, bound and stacked. I can burn up hours looking at magazines from the 80’s. My impression: the internet and global recession has reduced the amount of advertising and new product releases since then. I miss the big thick magazines.

    • Matt says:

      I do too. The March 1984 issue is noticeably thicker than the more recent issues, and packed with more content to boot. I guess it makes sense if you consider that magazines were one of the very few channels through which automotive companies could educate their potential customers about their products… We’re so diversified now.

  2. John D says:

    Gotta love that ‘refined torque arm rear suspension’ in the Camaro. Refined compared to what?

    And apparently the Mustang had the ‘unmistakable shimmer of a driver’s car’. That is one characteristic I didn’t know a car must possess in order to qualify as a ‘drivers car’…

    Recaro’s looked much the same then as they do now. That puts it on the short list of good things that came out of the 80’s (besides me ;).

    Very cool acquisition, Matt. Congrats.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks John. I think it might be the start of a small collection of vintage car magazines. I’ll have to see what else I can dig up.

      Re:the seats, my “holy grail” FB RX-7 (David Lane’s turbo GSL-SE) is fitted with a set of Recaros from the era, and he says while they’re extraordinarily comfortable and grippy, they’re also quite heavy—heavier than the stock seats, in fact. Found that interesting.

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